ORF3 of porcine circovirus 2 enhances the in vitro and in vivo spread of the of the virus.Virology. 2011 Feb 05; 410(1):248-56.V
The ORF3 protein of the pathogenic porcine circovirus 2 (PCV2) causes apoptosis of the virus-infected cells. In PCV2-infected piglets, ORF3 induces B and CD4 T lymphocyte depletion and lymphoid organ destruction and the ORF3-deficient PCV2 is attenuated in its pathogenicity (Virology, 383 (2009), 338). In addition to its role in causing the apoptosis of the immune cells, characteristic of the PCV2 infection associated disease conditions, the ORF3 also plays a role in the systemic dissemination of the PCV2 infection. Our experiments here show that ORF3 expedites the spread of the virus by inducing the early release of the virus from the infected cells. Further, in PCV2-infected mice, the ORF3-induced apoptosis also aids in recruiting macrophages to phagocytize the infected apoptotic cells leading to the systemic dissemination of the infection. The apoptotic activity of the ORF3 of PCV2 hence lends advantage to the spread of the virus.